Pat Hamilton, our VP/Agriculture Loan Officer, has known the Siler family for many years. He introduced me to the newsletter about their maple syrup business. I was intrigued and wanted to learn more. Joe and Erica were gracious enough to sit down and chat with me about their business.
Joe: The business has been in production for over 100 years. This is the first year we decided to sell our syrup directly to individuals. We have a new sugar house and wanted to market it right. Our first individual order of maple syrup went to Hawaii!
(If you watch their videos, you get to see the new sugar house and the production. It is a fascinating process!)
Joe: After Pat left his previous employer, we didn’t hear from him for a while. Then my dad and I were walking through the New York Farm Show and heard a familiar voice calling after us. It was Pat. He said he missed us, and we had missed him. We were in the throes of financing with a different company and having a tough time. We had been in talks with this other company for over a year and still no resolution. Pat accomplished what we needed in only four months.
Then, we needed help facilitating our family succession plan. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without Pat’s help. He believed in us. My wife and I were only 31 at the time (we are only 33 now). Most people wouldn’t have wanted to take a risk on us. Pat made all the difference because he believed in us.
Doing business with an out-of-town bank is wonderful because if we bid on land or something else, it doesn’t get discussed or shared with everyone we know. Our business is kept private and handled well. Pat doesn’t tell you what you want to hear, he tells you the truth.
We have 8300 maple trees, 1000 acres of cropland, and 300 head of beef cattle. We are now financially secure because of First Financial Bank. We would follow Pat to the end of the earth. When he says to trust someone or something, we know we can.
Erica: We want to be able to ship maple syrup across the country to more individual buyers.
We have big social media plans but we can’t reveal them quite yet. Our cow videos have gone viral. You can check them out and follow us online:
I find myself enthralled by the whole syrup-making process, their marketing to individuals, and their entire business. I particularly love the packaging; you must check out their Monthly Syrup Box, which reminds me of vintage syrup dispensers in a mason jar. It is exciting to see what this family can do, and it is heartwarming to hear how our work impacts people’s lives. Thank you to Joe and Erica Siler for generously sharing their story and providing insight into how First Financial Bank impacts their farming world, one maple tree at a time.